It seems everyone is in a crunch for time. Whether it relates to your personal or athletic life, people want to be as efficient with their time as possible. This is especially true for anyone who has coached. Recently, I was discussing the impact of time constraints with a local high school basketball coach. He informed me that while he was interested in developing a conditioning program for his team, with the season almost here he was doubtful one could be implemented in time.
Not having enough time to condition athletes is a reality that many coaches must face. While a coach may want to implement an "ideal" program, he or she may have to contend with what is available. Other factors such as finances, facilities and equipment also limit the coach's ability to develop an ideal training program.
With all of these constraints, how can a coach prepare the athlete to be at the top of his or her game physically? Renegade-style training may be the answer. One of the many great benefits to a Renegade-style of training is that it can be flexible and adapted to fit a coach's needs.
What I will discuss in this article are the same thoughts I provided to this particular basketball coach. Instead of seeing the situation as impossible, think outside the box. One must reflect how to incorporate conditioning into the scope of a sport training session. In this particular case, we are going to look at methods that can be useful for basketball.
Instead of senselessly running around the court, shooting around or taking time to perform static stretches, let's begin with more productive methods. Coach Davies has long spoken about the benefits of jump rope training. These benefits include, but are not limited to, increased work capacity, foot and hand speed, strength-endurance, and increased body temperature.
Jump roping is not a new concept. I highly recommend it. Specific jump roping drills have been outlined by Coach Davies in Renegade Training for Football. Don't let the name of the book fool you. These drills are beneficial for any athlete. Other effective methods for the general warm-up are dynamic stretching and agility drills, which have been outlined in previous articles.
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Many traditional basketball skills and specific warm-up drills can be employed to provide a very useful training effect. A light medicine ball (don't use too heavy; it will slow down the movement patterns) can be used in drills such as 3-man weaves, passing, tip and ball-handling drills. This form of training can serve as a useful variation of contrast training. By using a heavier object than a basketball, we "trick" the nervous system into having the body perform faster and more explosively.
The agility ladder can also be a productive way of warming-up and implementing some sport-specific movements. Initially, it is important to have the athletes go through the ladder slowly so they can concentrate on proper movement patterns and never sacrifice quality of work for speed.
As the athletes progress, they must be taught not to look at their feet but to be aware of proper body positioning. For the more advanced athlete, you can actually incorporate passing drills into the ladder. I have used medicine ball passes to the athletes as they run through the ladder. This teaches better reaction time and is truly more sport specific.
Kettlebells For Basketball
There is no doubt that many of the Renegade coaches are big fans of kettlebells. There are many different reasons why kettlebells are such useful tools, but for basketball, they can be especially helpful.
Many basketball players have long, lever arms that can make using a bar somewhat difficult to maneuver.
Any coach who has taught a 6-foot-8 athlete how to snatch can understand such a dilemma. Kettlebells on the other hand are not as restricted in the movement pattern and can be readily adapted for each athlete. They are also tremendous for improving strength-endurance, explosive-strength and are easy for the coach to teach.
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The traditional exercises, snatches, and clean and jerks can be very helpful and easy to include in any training program especially if you are in a crunch for time. However, you can add more specific drills for a basketball player. My favorite is the under-the-leg pass. This exercise looks very much like a figure-8 ball handling drill.
This exercise is tremendous for developing grip strength, static strength-endurance of the hips, which is important in being able to maintain proper body positioning in all aspects of basketball. Another movement I find effective is one I learned from Stephen Maxwell (I highly recommend his video Cruel and Unusual Kettlebell Exercises for Real Men.
You can take a kettlebell and pass it around the waist and knees, again a movement that is very similar to many ball handling drills. Besides increasing grip strength, this teaches the athlete body rhythm that makes using a basketball much more natural.
See how quickly you begin to open your mind and think outside the proverbial "box". There is no excuse to not implement proper conditioning for any athlete. I hope it is now obvious that a coach strapped for time or lacking facilities needs to find what will give them the biggest bang for their buck.
What is ideal may be very far from what is our reality. Never give up! Take ideas, implement, experiment and find what works. As much of a science as our field is, sometimes the best ideas emerge from necessity.
We are currently putting together Renegade Basketball Camps for the near future. Please e-mail Josh Henkin if you would be interested in participating in these camps, which will be held in the Phoenix area. Check out his articles right here on Bodybuilding.com, click here!